If you’re into the cabin, farmhouse, outdoorsy feel when it comes to home décor then you’re going to love this project. Today, we’re going to tackle a DIY project and test it for you; we’re going to transfer an image to wood.
I see it a lot on Pinterest and on various DIY blogs, but how does it actually work out?
I’ve put it to the test using minimal supplies: a piece of wood, computer paper, Mod Podge®, a brush, and paper towels.
The first thing you need to do is acquire a piece of wood for the project. I went to Walmart and bought a piece from the craft section. They have them in all different shapes (including letters) and sizes.
If you’re using natural wood, you’ll want to sand the side where you’ll be applying the image. This will ensure the surface is even and smooth. Because I purchased mine, it was already smooth and ready for photo application! However, if you see any imperfections in whatever wood you’re using, take this step before you apply the photo, then wipe off any residue that is left over from sanding.
After you’ve sanded, it’s time to apply the photo. When you choose one, you’re going to want to reverse the image so that it transfers onto the wood correctly. You can do this in Paint very easily. Open the image in Paint, click the drop-down for “Rotate” in the menu bar above the image, and chose “Flip horizontal.” Then print your image!
Apply a layer of Mod Podge® to the wood—I used a regular painter’s brush—and smooth the image onto the Mod Podge®. It’s a good idea to use a credit or store rewards card to smooth the image and make sure there are no air bubbles beneath the paper. Otherwise, the image won’t transfer in those areas.
After that, you have to wait at least 8 hours for the image to dry onto the Mod Podge®. Impatient? Do the above steps right before you go to bed and then you can do everything that follows first thing the next morning!
Once those 8 hours have passed, you apply water to remove the paper from the wood. Work in sections while doing this and repeat the process two or three times until all residue from the paper has been removed.
Once you’ve removed the paper and the image/wood has dried, sand the edges of the image for a worn look (optional), then seal it with another layer of Mod Podge®, which I used, or a finishing spray. You can also apply stain or polyurethane to the piece after applying the final layer of Mod Podge®.
If you want to hang the photo, make sure you attach the appropriate hardware to the back of the wood. Be careful if you’re using screws—you don’t want to use any that will poke through the front of the wood plaque. Because my piece was very light, I used Gorilla Glue® instead of nails.
So, there’s the finished product! The biggest question here was how this work would when using regular computer paper. Some people use freezer paper, which must be adhered to printer paper to avoid jamming your printer, and others use what’s left after printing mailing labels.
I have to say that I’m very happy with the results. There was a misstep in removing the paper though. See those worn areas? I didn’t mean for that to happen! I think that I applied too much pressure when removing the paper from the wood. Once I realized that ink was being removed, I applied less pressure and noticed a difference immediately. So, be warned! I was lucky here since I planned on sanding around the edges, and luckily the fox’s face wasn’t distorted.
Still, I call this one a success and will definitely be making more in the future. These would make a great gift and are a really neat and different way to display photos around the home!
Note: For our purposes, we used a stock photo for this project. However, we highly encourage you use photos you took yourself!
I’ve read a lot that says you must use a Laserjet printer because an Inkjet printer will not work. Personally, I only have access to Laserjet printers, so I cannot comment on the result from an Ink Jet printer. Nevertheless, I still wanted to give you all a heads-up. : )
Kayleigh is a content writer with a BA in technical writing/literature and an MA in creative writing. When she’s not at work writing, she’s at home writing, reading, or binge-watching television shows… for research, of course. A big do-it-yourselfer and crafter, Kayleigh loves testing out projects and gifting them to friends and family—all in preparation for when she owns her own home one day and decorates with her own personal creations. Her work has appeared on The Writing Cooperative and as an Honorable Mention in East Meets West American Writers Review.